4/11 Home sweet home

The Cubs players were huddled around Sean Marshall’s laptop Sunday morning to watch a video tour of the changes at Wrigley Field. The new players’ lounge and 60-inch TV, part of the $10 million spent this offseason on the ballpark, caught got their attention as did the new kitchen.

“I think it makes it a little more comfortable for the players,” Lou Piniella said of the changes promoted by the Ricketts family. “They’ve done some nice things for the fans at the ballpark, too. You win on the field. The dietician doesn’t get any base hits. It might help the players get base hits.”

The Cubs also have added a psychiatrist this year.

“The psychiatrist — I haven’t seen him hit a two-run homer yet,” Piniella said, “but he can help the players hit home runs, know what I’m saying?

“You’ve got to play on the field,” Piniella said. “All those other things might prepare you a little better to play on the field but still, when the umpire says play ball, you have to play.”

Ryan Dempster will start the home opener and said all the changes are nice frills but somethings won’t change.

“I’ll probably still be playing cards next to the washing machine and dryer in the back,” Dempster said.

What has the nutritionist done so far besides limit soda pop and ice cream in the clubhouse?

“It has everybody on the team probably [craving] for sugar,” Dempster said. “It’s good — any time you can eat healthier it’s a good thing. We’ve got a brand new kitchen and a great place for Otis [Hellman] and Gary [Stark] to cook. We’re looking forward to going out there and using those facilities to help us all the way around.”

Hellman, the head clubhouse manager, was a pretty decent cook in his cramped space.

“He could cook in a bad kitchen,” Dempster said. “Imagine what he can do in a good kitchen.”

— Carrie Muskat



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